A few years ago, camera and lighting manufacturers were obsessed with designing large flash units to complement large camera models introduced by companies such as Canon and Nikon. However, as time went on, companies began to produce smaller DSLRs, compact point-and-shoots, and mirrorless cameras. This shift in trends heightened the demand for smaller and more compact add-on flash models that were easy to handle for event photographers and photographers on the go.
Meike has outshined other lighting brands with its MK-320S Mini TTL Speedlite Automatic Flash. This flash has a pioneering design that is compatible with multiple camera brands, including Sony and Canon. Meike enjoys immense respect in the industry for its compact and highly sophisticated designs, and the MK-320S is indeed one of its best creations.
This TTL mini flash Speedlite is powered with multiple models, allows second curtain syncing, and its guide number of 32 is extremely robust for a Speedlite featuring such a small size. The flash features an excellent build quality, making it an ideal investment within this price range.
It allows superior utility and innovation without overreaching one’s budget, making it an ideal investment for beginners and bloggers looking to upgrade their image and video quality. The Meike MK-320S allows photographers to experiment with multiple modes and ISO settings alongside bounce lighting and flash exposure compensation (FEC) adjustments.
The MK-320S enjoys a stellar reputation amongst photographers and videographers for its small design and wide array of immersive features. In the context of this article, we will walk you through a comprehensive review of the Meike MK-320S and its versatile specifications to help you make an informed buying decision.
Performance And Functionality
The Meike MK-320S is a fully-featured TTL enabled mini flash Speedlite that offers an extensive range of features and modes. Its modes include TTL, stroboscopic, manual, optical slave models, second curtain sync, and more. Despite its small size, it features various highly sophisticated specs.
To make use of the TTL function, you must press on the shutter button halfway, which will allow the camera to focus on the subject. When this is happening, you’ll be able to see the aperture value of the camera on the flashlight. Once you press the shutter button down to take the picture, the flash will be automatically adjusted.
It is fully compatible with the Sony a6000, and its dynamic guide number of 32m allows the photographer and videographer superior control over light manipulation and natural lighting conditions. It will enable bounce lighting with tilt and rotation. It’s TTL exposures are highly impressive and remarkably consistent, whether direct or bounced.
This compact flash features a recycle time of 5 seconds, and its multi-flash stroboscopic mode allows the photographer to use multiple flashes in one exposure. The MK-320S also supports 1st and 2nd curtain synchronization features. It offers a smooth and even spread of light, and the Fresnel does not create any unusual patterns or glaring spots of light that ruin images and videos. It features a fixed beam angle, equal to a 24mm focal length in a full-frame.
The MK-320S is the first flash in the entire Meike lineup to feature the dynamic features of tilt and swivel, which is quite rare for flashguns of such a small size. As mentioned above, its small size cannot overshadow its highly sophisticated set of features. It also allows the photographer to benefit from vertical and horizontal rotation, enabling the flash to be bounced off ceilings and walls, thereby enhancing the image quality.
Its compact size is indeed the primary selling point of the Meike MK-320S, making it a highly convenient and versatile accessory for beginners and seasoned photographers. The small size makes it a useful tool for travel and nature photographers, hikers, and wildlife photographers who require precision and superior light control specifications.
The flash comes with a small stand and a protective casing and, unlike most flashguns, it operates on 2 AA batteries instead of 4.
The reduced battery size has allowed the manufacturer to make significant reductions to its weight and dimensions. This flash offers superior versatility, and it feels balanced when attached to the Sony a6000.
The Meike MK-320S features a micro USB port, a true gamechanger that makes this flashgun a highly competitive and useful product for photographers who travel extensively. It allows photographers to save up space and weight in their luggage while traveling as they don’t have to stock up on spare batteries and chargers.
The box accompanies a soft nylon drawstring case that features fleece on the inside to offer cushiony support that protects the flash from collisions and damage. It also comes with a small table-top stand and a diffuser cap. The drawstring case is large enough to store the flash and its accessories while traveling. The box also comes with a lens-cleaning brush.
Photographers and videographers who have used this flash have provided detailed reviews that can be accessed online to gain more insight into its performance and utility.
User Interface And Control System
The MK-320S is the first flash in Meike’s lineup of the MK300 and MK310 to boost the tilt and swivel features, which are not typically found in such a small-sized flash. The Nikon SB-400 inspired the design and specifications, but the MK-320S has overshadowed its inspiration with its superior range of features and controls.
The vertical and horizontal rotation allows the photographer superior control in terms of usage and image quality. However, some photographers complain about the limited range of motion, as it only goes 90 degrees to the right and 60 degrees to the left. Nonetheless, for an amateur photographer who doesn’t want to use this flash bounced off the wall on the extreme left, this should not be much of a problem.
Balancing a full-sized Speedlite with a mirrorless camera can prove to be a formidable challenge, and the Meike MK-320 fits perfectly due to its small built and lightweight. It does not undermine image quality by awkwardly tilting forward, and it doesn’t feel cumbersome if left on the camera in-between shots.
Its impressive user interface is indeed one of the attractive features of the MK-320S. As opposed to the retro design of the control dials of its rivals, the MK-320 features an innovative LCD control panel that allows fine-tuned adjustment. This flash allows the user to benefit from flash exposure compensation from –3 to +3 EV in TTL mode, and manual power control.
The clearly displayed menu and controls are quite easy to navigate, and the flash offers a wide range of customization options. The photographer can choose the exact duration of the flash’s sleep time, or enabling its LCD backlight. The LED lamp is another remarkable feature that allows superior utility and quality while shooting images and lengthy videos.
The MK-320S features three LEDs designed inside the head of the flash, allowing superior quality flash exposures. The MK-320S is highly recommended for photographers who seek to make the most of nighttime shots and event coverage. The LED gets automatically disabled once the flash fires.
The LED lamp is a remarkable addition. It allows the photographer to manipulate the spread of light and experiment with different light settings during off-camera lighting setups. As opposed to most flash designs, the light is not overly bright, and it works well in dim-lit studio setups and outdoor shots. It can significantly enhance the shooting experience, and the quality of the MK-320S has inspired many manufacturers to design similar modeling lamps.
Controlling and mounting this small-sized flash is incredibly easy, and it has been designed to offer superior utility with mirrorless cameras, such as the Sony a6000. It features a wide range of features that allow the photographer greater freedom over swivel, tilt, and zoom, and extensive customization to suit their preferences.
This Speedlite flash can be used off-camera and on-camera, depending on the lighting preferences of the photographer.
The flashlight also sends you a prompt with the electricity quantity is too low. The battery symbol on the device’s screen will begin to flash, and the low power prompt will be visible.
Over Temperature Protection
The MK-320S Mini TTL Speedlite also has over-temperature protection to prevent any damage from overheating. When you’re shooting continuously for a long time, the temperature of the flashlight base can rise.
When this happens, the over-temperature unit in the device will automatically be triggered, and it will disable the flashlight. You will then be able to see the TP-HI information on the LCD screen.
The flashlight will resume working again once its temperature cools back down to normal. On average, it takes two minutes for the flashlight to cool down. In order to avoid any overheating in the first place, the manufacturers of the device recommend taking ¼ of your pictures in the flash setting – especially if you’re shooting continuously.
Build Quality And Design
Despite being a budget-friendly investment, the Meike MK-320S offers an impressive, premium build quality that makes it a striking departure from bulky and unflattering flash designs. Its packaging appears much like a fancy bottle of designer perfume with its elegant build, textured material, and customized, molded foam.
Meike has attempted to refurbish its brand image by investing in the design quality and packaging of the MK-320S, which gives this cost-effective purchase a high-end appeal. Despite its small proportions, Meike has managed to make room for an elegant 1.5-inch dot-matrix LCD, which comes with eight control buttons.
The control buttons have been made with plastic, but they feature a high-end metallic effect and engraved markings, which add aesthetic charm to the overall design. The battery door, usually the most vulnerable aspect of flash design, feels sturdy and secure. In the past, users have reported facing problems with the battery compartments of Meike Speedlite designs, but this Chinese brand has certainly overcome this weakness with the MK-320S.
The flashlight is quite easy to install and remove on cameras such as the Sony a6000. All you have to do to install the flashlight is push the “hot shoe holder” of the MIK-320S, located at the very bottom, into the hot shoe of the camera, located at the very top.
Once this is done, you must rotate the locking pin, located at the bottom of the flashlight, counterclockwise to tighten the flashlight.
Similarly, you just have to rotate the locking pin clockwise to loosen the flashlight. Then push the MK-320S backward slightly so that it detaches from the hot shoe of the camera. The ease with which this product can be installed and removed makes it convenient to use.
The MK-320S Mini TTL Speedlite Automatic Flash is an elegantly designed, compact flash that makes an ideal companion for the mirrorless Sony a6000. It feels balanced and comfortable, and it’s easy to use interface offers much utility and versatility, whether you use it for bounce flash or direct TTL. It is an ideal investment for those who seek a flash for on-camera and off-camera usage.
Some users have complained about its slower recycling, but given its compact size, it offers many features that are uncommon in such small designs. Its micro USB port and lightweight design make it the perfect companion for travelers and explorers who are always on the go. If you always have limited space in your camera bag or luggage, the MK-320S won’t take up much room.
This walkaround flash offers endless utility while covering events and experimenting with street photography. It’s a compact design, and walkaround flash quality makes it an excellent product to enhance the image and video quality, and shoot on the go. Amateur photographers and beginners will find it immersive and easy to use.
As compared to its rivals, including the Nissin i40, the Meike MK-320s offers a robust modern user interface, sophisticated modeling lamp, and superior control over bounce lighting, and tilt and swivel. This Speedlite flash has cultivated a stellar reputation for its premium quality and cost-efficient price tag. Given its cost and superior quality build, the Meike MK-320 is definitely a spectacular bargain!